The Eddie Kranepool Society

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"SO SEO MAY BE NO GO" The Duke, Artie from Queens, and Professor Rick have a trick up their sleeve as it comes to putting together the Mets pitching staff. While us Mets fans have been doing the "paper or plastic" routine with Grant Roberts, Scott Erickson and Tyler Yates as to whom the 5th spot in the rotaion will go to, the Mets brain trust has come up with a different view. Considering that Jae Seo as been worse than so-so this spring and the fact that he can be optioned to Norfolk, he could be the odd man out when the final roster comes North. This move (and it's a bold one) would strengthen the bullpen, as Rickey Bottaliico, Kranepool Society favorite Dan Wheeler and closer of the near future, Orber Moreno would make the team. As I say, this is a bold move but why stop there. Seo finshed up the season strong but if you look over his perfornace for all of 2003 it was uneven. He statered strong, faded in the middle and picked up steam at the end. But let's not stop there. While the decison makers are feeling their onions, how about showing some real big Vidalia Onions and give Roger Cedeno his walking papers. That would show huge stones. Say "here ya Roger, here's your check and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out". Com'on Freddy your up! <

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

�THUMP�.THUMP�.THUMP�..THUMP�.� That�s the sound of Titan Tom Glavine banging his head against the clubhouse wall, as he envisions the opening day, up-the-middle defense of Piazza, Wilpon Ward, Gutierrez, and Cameron. Kazuo Matsui has a right wrist stain (X-Rays were negative) and Jose Reyes still has discomfort in his right hammy and looks more and more like he will not start on opening day. The question I have is, if Reyes can�t start on opening day do the Mets put him on the DL and keep an extra pitcher? Think about this, with Roger Cedeno having no role what so ever on the team, taking up a roster spot and with Reyes not ready to play, if you�re The Duke what do you do? In order to answer that question, we would have to know the truth on how bad Reyes is hurt. If Reyes is hurt worse than we are being let on to be, then the Mets could go with 12 pitchers and 13 position players. That would mean Ricky Botalaico and Orber Moreno both make the pitching staff. And Grant Roberts wins the 5th starter spot. With the shaky spring that Braden Looper has had and Senator Al�s balky left arm, this may not be a bad way to go. �ARTIE FROM QUEENS RUNS FOR DAYLIGHT� Unhappy with the way the team has played defense (I thought this was going to be our strength this season) Artie from Queens turned Lombardi-like and had the team on the field at Pt. St. Lonesome at 9:30 AM for defensive drills before hoping on a bus for a trip to Jupiter. (Florida that is) Artie showed me a little somethin� somethin� by �drilling� the fellas. In fact the players were grumbling about this! GO ARTIE!! �LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS� So former player/ current sports talkie Andy Van Slyke, claims Titan Tom had told him that he hates throwing to Mike Piazza. Now Van Slyke is trying to cover his and Glavine�s ass by stating he (Van Slyke) made the statement and not Titan Tom. This is not the first time this has come up between T T and Piazza. It will interesting to see if Piazza�s 1st base assignments fall on the same day as Titan Tom starts. "NOTES FROM THE ASTORIA GULAG" 1. My Big Fat Obnoxious Talk Show Host and his Glibert Godfried clone, we all smiles when Tom Verduci of SI claimed that not only did the magazine pick the Mets to finish last in the NL East, but word out of desert is that Vlady Gurerreo is wowing them this spring. Verduci claims the word is that Vlady could contend of a Triple Crown this year. 2. Thursday from 5PM to 7PM Steve Somers will be joined in studio as his co-host by none other than big time Mets fan Jerry Seinfield. <

Monday, March 29, 2004

�RICKY DON�T LOSE THAT NUMBER� The Duke has landed our 25th man and he�s Ricky Gutierrez, and from reading today that Jose Reyes �felt something� running the bases yesterday puts seeing his name in the Opening Day lineup dicey at best. Gutierrez claims that since he�s had surgery to relive pressure on his spinal cord, this is the best he�s felt physically since the 2001 season. In �01 as a member of the Cubs, Gutierrez hit .290/.345./.402 36 xbh 11 HR 66 RBI 76 R. If healthy Gutierrez is step up from the Wilpon Ward, who will still be in charge of coffee and dounuts. Not only is Gutierrez more than capeable of playing 2nd or short, he has played a little (very little) OF as well. So his versitlity is a big plus. I have a funny feeling Gutierrez is going to see a lot of playing time this season. I don�t think that�s good thing though. The NY Daily News and the NY Post put out their baseball preview section today. I guess with the Highlanders opening up the season in the Far East tomorrow, the papers wanted to get a jump on things. (Sidebar: Highlander fans, SHUT THE F UP!. I have never heard such bitching and moaning over the Highlanders opening the season in Japan. I�ve heard fans complain about opening the season on foreign soil {that�s the Republican faction of Highlander fandom}then there are the fans who are complaining about the games on at 5AM {This is the wuss faction of the Highlander supporters}PLEASE STOP! First of all, the Highlanders make it sound like they traveled to Mars. Although it may seem that way, the Highlanders are not the first Americans to travel to Japan. The Mets went to Japan in 2000 and it was fun to get up at 5 AM and watching them play the Cubs. In fact, lots of Mets fans stayed up and partied through the night in celebration of the new season. That�s called fun Highlander fans, you should try it some day.) Daily News Sam Borden likes the Phillies in the NL and Red Sox in the AL with the Red Sox winning the World Series. Bill Gallo over did his meds as he picks the Cardinals to win the World Series. John Harper has the Red Sox and Cubs meeting in the World Series with the Red Sox winning. The shocker here was Bill Madden picking his beloved Highlanders to win the East but the Angels winning the AL pennant and playing the Cubs in the Series with the Cubs winning. Anthony McCarron the Highlander beat writer has them in the World Sereis with the Phillies and the Highlanders winning. Mighty Quinn has Red Sox-Cubs with the Cubs as World Champs. Adam Rubin the Mets beat writer has Highlanders-Cubs, with the Cubs victorious. Rubin also picks Steve Trachsel to win the NL Cy Young (Aye Carumba!) Vic Ziegel is wandering around Coogan�s Bluff. Post Let's see what suprises the Post baseball writers have for us. Number 1 Highlander bootlicker George King has the Highlanders besting the Cubs in the World Series (Shocking huh!) Mets beat man Mark Hale picks the Amazin's for 4th and has the Cubs over the A's in the World Series. Kevin Kernan has the Highlanders over the Cubs in the World Series. Columnist Mike Vaccaro has the Astros over the Higlanders (Now that would be intersting) in the World Series. Joel (Pinstripe Pajamas) has the upset of the day as he picks the Cubs over the RED SOX! in the World Series. Of course he picks the MEts to finish last. He has the Highlanders finishing 2nd and winning (for lack of a better term) the AL Wild Card. He better look out Georgie Porgie might take his Pinstripe PJ's away form him. <

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Norm over at The Shea Hot Corner, has posted Part 1 of his Mets Roundtable discussion. He has enlisted the big guns. Pete Abraham of The Journal News, Doug Pappas of SABR/Baseball Prospectus fame, Tim Marchman of The New York Sun and other publication, The Godfather of Mets news on the internet, Bryan Hoch and Ed Tsunoda of NY Fansites. These guys have great insites and Norm has come through with great questions. Part 2 of Norm's Round Table will be posted next week and will feature the Mets Blogging community. <

"SOUTH SIDE TIMO AND THE REINSDORF JUKES" The Mets traded Timo Perez, who can't hit left handed pitching, to the White Sox for RHP Matt Ginter, who can't get left handed hitters out. The Pale Hose will assume responsibility for Timo's contract of $850K. So by paying Ginter a league minnimum of $350K, The Duke saves $500K, which would be the cost of a 25th man to play the infield. How about this quote from The Duke on the role of Roger Cedeno with the Mets: Perez could have stayed on the roster as the fifth outfielder, but the Mets remain unwilling to eat $10 million by releasing Roger Cedeno. He has proven untradeable. "We're still trying to find a spot more meaningful for Roger, but I'm not sure that exists right now," general manager Jim Duquette said. "I think he'll continue to compete for playing time." How great is that line! The Duke is telling Mets fans, "I hear you and I'm with you but The Skill Sets won't let me cut Roger's sorry ass". <

Saturday, March 27, 2004

"LEW FORD WILL LIVE A LONG LIFE" I just got finished e-mailing Norm over at The Shea Hot Corner about who I thought the Mets RF'er will be in 2005. Two players I mentioned were Michael Restovich and Lew Ford. Since I have MLB Extra Innings cable package (Sidebar: If you have the ways and means to obtain this service as a baseball fan you have to get it! It's worth the cost beleive me.) I love to watch teams like the Twins and the first time I saw Ford play, he became a favorite of mine. Now the reason Ford will live long and prosper is after e-mailing Norm I get my trusty daily briefing from Lee Sinis (We should start calling Lee, Baseball's Press Secretary) in it he has link to a story on Lew Ford. It seems Lou is a computer nerd who started his own internet site at 13. (Beat that Jeremy) The story goes on to show the Ford is a bit eccentirc. After he hit a HR at the Metrodome, the fans chanted LEW, LEW,LEW he asked a teammate why where they booing him after all he just homered? In Anahieim, he was told he would go into the game to pinch run. He went down to the clubhouse quickly and when he was coming back up he made a left instead of right and ended up in the parking lot. More to the fact, Ford would be our "Moneyball" player as he has put up some fine OBA in the minors. He does not strikeout much, which would be a major plus for the Mets, he possesses decent speed and is a better than average defender. So instead of chasing for a 25th man, The Duke shoudl be on the horn with Terry Ryan and get us Lew Ford! PRONTO. <

"IS THERE CAUSE FOR CONCERN?" Kazuo Matsui has not yet adjusted to playing ML baseball. since injuring his finger early in the spring, he has not been able to get himself set and ready for his first season with the Mets. Now that does not have me worried, as Pete Abraham points out in his story in today's Journal News, it took Hideki Matsui a while to adjust to ML pitching before he got comfortable and had a fine season with the Highlanders. My concern with Kazuo is the guy was an iron man of sorts in Japan, playing in over 1,000 consecutive games, now needs to take a full day off from the "rigors" of spring training. Artie from Queens told Kazuo to stay away from the spring complex. All we've heard from Kazuo was how he wanted to be in the line up everyday and how much that meant to the folks back in Japan. Meanwhile, the guy is spent after spring training. Add in the fact he missed a few weeks with his stiched up finger, and the fact that The Duke is dumpster diving again for a 25th man to spell him and Reyes in the infield, makes me a bit queasy. <

Friday, March 26, 2004

�MY FUNNY VALENTINE� As the ink stained wretches of the NY print media hit the Land of the Rising Sun, three local writers got to hang out with former Mets manager Bobby Valentine. Valentine has returned to the Chiba Lotte Marines, a team he led after getting the ax from Dubbya�s Rangers. Jack Curry of the Times, Joel (Pinstripe Pajamas) Sherman and Jon (Enemy of the Mets fan) Heyman hit the town with Bobby V and all three filed stories on the wit and wisdom of V. Of the three articles, I felt that Heyman did the best job. Valentine rails that people who think that managing in Japan is not a major league job are sorely mistaken. He also takes on A's GM, Billy Beane and the �Moneyball mindset� that has taken over MLB and he claims he would never take a job in an organization that has the same philosophy as Beane. He also sings the praises of managing in the Japanese League and how he�s as happy as ever and could envision himself having a long career in Japan. As usual, Valentine is a walking contradiction. His contract with the Lotte Marine is for one year with four option years. He also can come back to the �states� to mange as long as he gives the Marines 10 days notice. His access to the Mets front office was non-existent during his last year of service with the Mets. I found it comical as he relates the story that he was �regulated to sit in my office and not allowed to have anyone to come in and visit�. Who was he going to entertain in his office? Tommy LaSorda? Valentine also let the word get out that Larry Lucchino called to find out what he thought of Grady Little' non-removal of Pedro in Game 6. Valentine says �I�m not so sure he (Little) did the wrong thing� and although Valentine claims the call was not a job interview he sure as hell had his name removed from Evil Empire Avengers short list of managers. Bottom line, if he does well with the Marines he will probably get a call from a ML team looking for that Valentine spark and he�ll jump on the chance to back home. <

Thursday, March 25, 2004

"AND SSSSTTTTRRRREEEETTTTTCCCCHHH 2, 3, 4.............." Lee Jenkins in today's NY Times writes on how the Mets are considering going outside the organization and bring in a fitness guru to work with Jose Reyes and try to combat his troubled hammy. Here is a paragraph from the story that shows why Mets fans get frustrated with the Skill Sets: [Last year, when Reyes's right hamstring was becoming a problem, the Mets called a 5-foot-8, 140-pound bundle of energy named Mackie Shilstone, an expert in performance enhancement with the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans. A team doctor interviewed Shilstone - who has worked with several major league teams and more than 2,000 athletes, including Ozzie Smith, Royce Clayton and Carlos Garcia - but did not follow up with him.] Who was this doctor? The same one who said not to go after Vladimr Guererro? Dr.Rokito I presume. They have a guy who can help them with their prize prospect and they drag their heels. This happens so much in this organization and that's one of the reasons for the Mets failure. "I got my pills to ease the pain can't find a thing to ease the rain sometimes I'd like to try and settle down but everybody's leaving' town Some got to win some got to lose good time Charlie's got the blues" Scott Strickland has a pill problem. He takes 23 pills 3 times a day but has no clue what's in them. So now Strickland wants the Mets, the union, anyone, to test these "supplements" he's been taking to make sure they're legal. First off ,if your ingesting any substance 69 times a day, wouldn't you thing a little bell would go off in your head telling you, somethings not kosher here? Strickland says he hasn't a clue what's in these pills. It could be anything he says "It could be viagra in them for all I know". Scott, if there was some viagra in those pills I think either you or your teammates would notice (Is that a Louisville Slugger in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?). And of course Strickland could not get in touch with union counsel Gene Orza for guidance with this matter. My guess is Orza was at A-Rod's bedside after he got nicked with a thrown ball in yesterday's game. Speaking of A-Rod: "WELCOME TO ANOTHER READING OF A-ROD: HOW GREAT THOU ART" Today's third and final chapter of the NY Daily news series called the A-Rod files deals with A-Rod saving a single mother and her three children from a fire that destroyed their home. After the fire was out, A-Rod proceeded to rebuild the home by himself of course, and built all the new furniture as well. It's just a matter of time before A-Rods birthday becomes a national holiday. Also the was rumor that Joel Sherman of the NY post and John Heyman of Newsday had to given smelling slats after passing out when A-Rod was hit on the cheek by a ball thrown by Hideki Matsui in yesterday's Highlanders-Olde Town Team tumble. <

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"A READING OF THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO A-ROD" In today's A-Rod Files, we learn how A-Rod as a young missionary, went to Calcutta to assist Mother Theresa with her work at a leper colony <

"WE'RE #10 WITH A BULLET" Baseball America has released it's rankings of Major League teams fram systems. The Mets are ranked 10th, moving up 3 spots form last years 13th ranking. Here's the list: 1. Milwaukee Brewers 2. Los Angeles Dodgers 3. Anaheim Angels 4. Atlanta Braves 5. Minnesota Twins 6. Cleveland Indians 7. Chicago Cubs 8. Toronto Blue Jays 9. Tampa Bay Devil Rays 10. New York Mets 11. Pittsburgh Pirates 12. Seattle Mariners 13. Arizona Diamondbacks 14. Florida Marlins 15. Colorado Rockies 16. Texas Rangers 17. Oakland Athletics 18. Baltimore Orioles 19 Kansas City Royals 20. Chicago White Sox 21. Philadelphia Phillies 22. Detroit Tigers 23. Boston Red Sox 24. San Francisco Giants 25. San Diego Padres 26. Cincinnati Reds 27. New York Yankees 28. St. Louis Cardinals 29. Houston Astros 30. Montreal Expos First, how about the Highlanders dropping to 27th! WOW. What is more of a blemish on MLB the steriod scandal or the way the Expos have bee treated? They were one of the top teams when it came to player development now ther're dead last. When does The Used Car Salesman invoke the "Best Intrest in Baseball" clause and give the Expos a decent home and a chance to compete again? <

"THE MAINSTREAM PRESS, A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT ON THE DOWD STORY" Joel (Pinstripe Pajamas) Sherman and Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post took a break from swooning over A-Rod, to go with a story that's about a week old. Will Young sat in at a seminar at George Washington university, where he's student, given by John Dowd. Dowd, among other topics talks of Highlander plantation owner Georgie Porgie, pushing The Used Car Salesman to reinstate Pete (Bugsy) Rose into the good graces of baseball. Georgie's thinking was with Rose brought back to the bosom of baseball and into the Hall of Fame, it would help his chances as well. Boss George, The Used Car Salesman, Tom Hayden.....errr I mean Bob DuPay have all said this is nonsense. If anybody know about nonsense it's these three. MEMO to NY POST: if your going to mention Will's web site in the newspaper, show a little courtesy and hyper link it. I'm sure Hondo doesn't have much to do till football season that he could handle this chore. <

Jeff Pearlman of SI/John Rocker fame has written a new book on the 1986 Mets. The book is titled: THE BAD GUYS WON! A SEASON OF BRAWLING, BOOZING, BIMBO CHASING, AND CHAMPIONSHIP BASEBALL WITH STRAW, DOC, MOOKIE, NAILS, THE KID AND THE REST OF THE 1986 METS, THE ROWDIEST TEAM EVER TO PUT ON A NEW YORK UNIFORM-AND MAYBE THE BEST This book sounds like a must read for us in the Legion of Wilpon. I just wish the current crop of Mets had half the onions of the '86 ers. Check out the link to Jeff's website, where you can read more about the 86ers and order the book. <

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

�DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS� The papers are a buzz with who�s in and who�s out when it comes to the makeup of the 2004 Mets roster. More specifically, the pitching staff seems to be where the tough decisions will be made. The biggest competition is the 5th spot in the rotation. Grant Roberts, Scott Erickson, Tyler Yates and James Baldwin are the contenders. You can right off Yates, who most likely will be ticketed to Norfolk and Baldwin may agree to an AAA assignment as well. So with Erickson and Roberts left, figure the Mets to go the safest route and name Erickson to the rotation and Roberts to the pen. I�m figuring with the 5th spot scheduled to go in the warm weather of Puerto Rico against the Expos on April 10th and with the off day on April 13th the next time a 5th starter would be needed is either April 17th or 18th which are day games, so the chilly weather may not be a factor. So that would favor Erickson. So with Roberts to the pen that leaves just 1 spot open in the bullpen. The candidates are Ober Moreno, Rickey Botaliaco, and Dan Wheeler. The question I have is if you had to choose 3 pitchers from this group of 6 who would you take? John Franco LHP Mike Stanton LHP David Weathers RHP Ober Moreno RHP Rickey Botaliaco RHP Dan Wheeler RHP This is what happens when an organization takes in a favorite son. That favorite being John Franco. Although he is having a good spring, what was the sense in bringing him back? If I had to choose between Wheeler and Franco, I'm going with Wheeler. Botaliaco Or Franco? Put me down for Botaliaco. Moreno over Franco? Moreno is my choice with his ability to get a strikeout, something that is still lacking on the staff. Is David Weathers a better choice than Wheeler, Botaliaco or Moreno? Not in my book he isn�t. Moreno, I believe has options left so he could go to Norfolk. I don�t believe Wheeler has options and Botalaico is a vet so that�s a no go. So after all is said and done here is the way I see the staff: Leiter LHP Galvine LHP Trachsel RHP Seo RHP Erickson RHP Roberts RHP Franco LHP Weathers RHP Botaliaco RHP Stanton LHP Looper RHP It�s with regret I say good-bye to Kranepool Society favorite Dan Wheeler. That�s the shame of this, personnel decision are being made not solely on performance but on favorite son status and money obligations. Moreno goes to Norfolk to close for the Tides. The Rest of the Squad C Piazza R Phillips R Wilson R INF Reyes S Matsui S Wiggington R Wilpon Ward R Zeile R OF Floyd L Cameron R Spencer R Garcia L Cedeno S The only roster spot open is for an extra infielder. It looks like that spot will be filled by a player released from another organization rather than from within, meaning Danny Garcia heads back to AAA. Whew! All this work just to chase 81 wins! �JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ALL ABOUT A-ROD��.� The Daily News has a 3 (!) part series starting today, on Highlander 3rd baseman Alex Rodriquez. I don�t know how many more trees need to cut down to tell the A-Rod story, but the word in Hollywood is that Mel Gibson wants to produce his life story for the silver screen. <

Monday, March 22, 2004

"WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE" Jose Reyes is itching to get back to business. Artie from Queens wants him in the Opening Day lineup. The Duke wants to take a more cautious approach to Reye's comeback from strained hammy. Here is Artie's quote in today's NEWSDAY along with a quote from The Duke: . "It sounds more and more like we have a shot at having him for Opening Day," manager Art Howe said. Reyes, 20, missed three weeks last season with a similar strain of the same hamstring while at Triple-A Norfolk, then was sidelined for another five games with the Mets when it popped up again. For that reason, general manager Jim Duquette was more reserved in his assessment and, unlike Howe, wasn't ready to include him in the club's Opening Day plans just yet. "I don't have any odds one way or the other," Duquette said. "As much as we'd like to have him ready for Opening Day, we also want to make sure he's ready for the full season, too." Now boys, let's get on the same page please. I wonder what type of relationship Artie and The Duke have? I guess will know on cut down day. <

"WELCOME BACK BIG DON" Mets bench coach Don Baylor rejoined the team yesterday after going through stem cell transplant for bone cancer. Baylor was strong enough to drive form California to St. Lonesome and has proclaimed himself fit to fight for the 2004 season. While The Gerbil gets all the press and adulation, Baylor, who is a baseball lifer as well and a helluva better player than The Gerbil, doesn't get the love like he does. Baylor has a much tougher job than The Gerbil ever had keeping Artie from Queens awake. <

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Every day - I try and I try and I try - But everybody wants to put me down They say I'm goin' crazy They say I got a lot of water in my brain Got no common sense (He's)I got nobody left to believe Yeah - yeah yeah yeah Lee Jenkins has a piece in today's NY Times on the life and times of Roger Cedeno. In order to get the full effect of this story it must be read with violin music in the background. I'm not a "booer" I do not boo at sporting events I think because the sight of a 45 year old man standing and yelling and booing is well unsightly. But I do love to critique. I feel for Cedeno in that he does not want his wife and kids to come to Shea to hear him get razed. That's understandable. I also see how his teammates, especially Cliff Floyd have come to his defense, that's what a good teammates does. But understand the fans wrath. Every year ticket prices and concession prices go up an up to where the cost of a few hours at a ball game cost about the same as a nice weekend in the country. Then top it off that a player such as Cedeno has failed miserably at his craft. Then add on his bloated contract, of which $10 mil is owed over the next 2 years and compound that with a losing team, what would you expect the paying customers to do? Freddy Skills Sets hates to be portrayed as a penny pincher but by keeping Cedeno around is what adds to that presumption. What Freddy needs to do is tell The Duke get whatever you can for Cedeno and bite the bullet and pay off his contract. I say call the Dodgers but it's to late now that Paul DePodesta is in charge. Who knows maybe for a couple of A level prospects he'd take a flyer on Roger. If all that fails then work out a buy of the contract. It will only get worse at Shea when Cedeno drops a catchable ball in the outfield or is picked off 1st base. For the greater good of Cedeno, his family and Mets fans Freddy do the right thing. <

Saturday, March 20, 2004

"BANANAS LINDER MUST BE IN A FLAMBE" Check out this tidbit from Lee Sinins ATM Report: 14) Reds P D.J. Mattox had Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2004 season. Mattox had been taken from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft and was expected to be a contender for a spot in the rotation. Since he was a Rule 5 draftee, the requirement to keep him on the 25 man roster for the entire season will be carried over to the 2005 season. <


"REALLY CAN YOU EVER GET ENOUGH JON HEYMAN BASHING" The Shea Hot Corner has a link to Baseball Primer Clutch Hits on a column that Heyman wrote after the Mets signed Titan Tom Glavine. Heyman praise's Freddy Skill Sets and Swarmy Steve Phillips as stinkin' geniuses and states how the Mets will rise to new heights with Glavine. This is much like his hype about Alfonso Soriano being the the player that puts the Mets over the top. <

"TO BAD THE OLDE TOWN TEAM IS NOT ON THE METS INTER-LEAGUE SCHEDULE" Senator Al and Titan Tommy took Red Sox Motor Mouth, Curt Schilling and Manson family member Johnny Damon to the woodshed over their comments about steroid testing in baseball. I love the quote from Senator Al who in escance states, Schillings a good guy, but let me tell how much of an asshole he is: I like Curt, but he's got a lot of opinions, sometimes bizarre," Leiter said. "He's an intelligent guy, but my frustration with Curt and other players like Curt is that they're never involved. If Curt would actually go and sit in the [union] meetings and hear and listen and understand truly how it works, he would have never said that. "What Curt is getting at is inaccurate, and he's wrong, and he doesn't know what he's talking about." Gotta love the Senator. Schilling is on record as wanting an independent party to do the drug testing. Damon claims the owners are not really against steroid use as steroids bring more home runs which makes higher revenue. Of course Dammon has not concrete proof of this, so he is talking out his rear end. Titan Tom also weighs in on the what life would be like for ML players with an indepenent party doing the drug tests: , "If you want people knocking on your door at 6 o'clock in the morning and following you around for a couple of days and knocking on your door in the middle of your Thanksgiving dinner, I guarantee you 99 percent of these guys will shut their mouths." Well maybe some guys would, but not Schilling. In fact if he ever lost his ability to speak he'd always have internet message boards to preach his gospel. <

"THERE'S BAD LUCK THEN THERE'S METS LUCK" Lastings Milledge, the Mets 1st round pick in the 2003 Free Agent Entry Draft, suffered a fracture of the right ring finger while atemping to bunt. Milledge was fitted for a cast and will be out of action for 4-6 weeks. <

Friday, March 19, 2004

"IT'S TIME FOR ANOTHER JON HEYMAN COLUMN ON WHY THE METS SUCK" I have to think that either the Mets made Heyman pay for a meal or they did not give him a good parking spot because the crap he comes up with about the Mets makes no sense at all. In today's slop fest we get a couple of Heyman's pearls of wisdom. The first is about the work ethic in camp: "One scout described a "country-club atmosphere," where Mets players aren't worked very hard. Could this be an aggravating factor?" This quote, that quite frankly I feel Heyman made up, contradicts most of the stories we've heard about camp. From Matsui and Reyes coming into camp about a week to 10 days early to Senator Al coming in a svelte 210 lbs to Mike Piazza's attitude adjustment as far as 1st base goes against this theory. Add to the fact that the pitchers have hung on ever word of instruction that Professor Rick utters, it seems Heyman is talking out of a lower orifice. Then Heyman tells us the The Duke is has rendered him persona non grata: "Duquette did not return a phone call. Perhaps he's tiring of talking about their rough spring." No Jon, my guess would be he's fed up with you. Then there is this nugget that had me doing a double take: "The Mets need one more proven hitter, maybe two. They are thin in the rotation. Three different scouts guessed three different pitchers for the fifth spot; it's Aaron Heilman or Grant Roberts or Scott Erickson." I think Heyman got this one mixed up with a story on the Highlanders, for they are the team without front line pitching depth. How can a team that has 4 players ( he left out Tyler Yates) vying for 1 spot be thin in pitching depth? Add to that any one of the 4 pitchers would do a decent job. Someone will have to explain that to me. Then there is this on Braden Looper: "One scout said lefthanded setup men Mike Stranton and Pedro Feliciano look like trouble. The closer, Braden Looper, sports a 9.00 ERA this spring. Worse, he got rattled when his old manager Jack McKeon said Armando Benitez is more intimidating. A guy who's genuinely intimidating doesn't have to boast about it." I'll give you Feliciano but Stanton has pitched well this spring. Looper answered a question by the press yentas to a quote by Poppa Jack. Then that was it. Looper has been trying different things under the guidance of Professor Rick as that is what spring training is for (except in the World of the Highlanders and land that Heyman loves) Then there is this on Wizz Kid Karim Garcia: "The Mets had to know Garcia was a hothead from his famous Fenway Park bullpen fight. But at least as a Yankee he was protecting teammates, not his right to relieve himself publicly." Well from what The Duke has said, he spoke at length to Pee Wee Cashman about Garcia and Pee Wee gave a rave review. How was The Duke to know that not only was Garcia a good lefty for a RF platoon by also a decent reliever as well. Funny how when he wore pinstripes Heyman never wrote about his temper. <

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"CLASS IS IN SESSION" Lee Jenkins has a great story on Professor Rick and how he is the pied piper of the pitching staff. In just a few weeks, it seems the Professor has changed the mind set of the staff: "We don't throw," Peterson said. "We pitch. We threw last season, and look where it got us. From now on, we pitch." Ah yes the Art of Pitching and from the looks of things the Mets pitchers have taken to this philosophy like Trout take to spring water. The staff as a whole has cut down on their walks and in effect the earned runs are down for the spring. Not only that the young guys will take all they've learned to Binghamton and Norfolk where Jerry Reuse and Dan Warthen will continue with the Tao of Rick. <

"THE USED CAR SALESMAN IS AT IT AGAIN" Alan H. Selig has gone into his Clueless Bud persona by stating he may invoke "The Best Interest of Baseball" powers to make random drug testing for steroids and human growth hormone mandatory. The thing the Clueless one forgets(and what most fans are neglecting as well) is the current testing procedures that are in place now were COLLECTIVELY BARGAINED in the last CBA agreement. If you are not part of a union your proably saying "Who gives a rat's ass, test 'em" Well you can't do that. This form of testing was reached by a compromised, unless the owners have something they'd like to give up, then the union would listen. If they don't, well then the Clueless One is S.O.L. It seems from reports this morning the Clueless One is driving his right hand man Rob Manfred nuts with this grandstand play. Manfred is trying to tell Selig if this goes to court the owners losing streak in the halls of justice will continue. Now that's not to say the union is sitting pretty here. No matter how Fehr/Orza try to put on a happy face (if you can picture Fehr with a happy face) here about how the rank and file are in lock step with the union leadership, the quotes from players seem to differ form that position. Especially damning is a story written by Buster Olney in the March 29th issue of ESPN The Magazine where he tells of a current player who claims the majority of players are for more stringent testing. The whole problem here is what has plagued MLB for over a century. The Players do not trust the owners and the owners have no clue on how to build a partnership with labor. While everyone agrees steroids and HGH have no place in the game, neither side can figure out a way to meet a compromise to rid the game of this problem. <

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

"TIS A DAY THE IRISH SHOULD LEARN ABOUT THE IRISH" If it's March 17th in NYC it means only one thing, The upstaters make their annual trip to the big city. The good thing is they come down here once a year, the bad thing is they have absolutely no clue on what it is to be Irish. Now before you start firing off an angry e-mail let me tell you that both my parents were born and raised in Ireland (Up Sligo) and we were taught from an early age on how badly the Irish and in particular Irish-Catholics were treated by the Brits, as the famine of 1847 was the Brtish idea of ethnic cleansing. So it is because of such discrimination that when the Ancient Order of Hibernians from Oranage and Rockland County converage on the city for the St. Patrick's Day parade, I get a bit embarassed. For some reason every group get's to march in the parade except one the Irish Gay and Lesbian Organization. So it in what is the most progressie city in the world, ILGO is not allowed to march. So in essence, the AOH have turned into the Brits of centuries past. There is a man in Harwichport on Cape Cod who owns a baseball card store and he is a retired Boston cop. His grandson works in the shop during his summer vacation from school. Last August when I was visiting I stopped in to say hello. I notice the grandson was not around. I ask the man where he was, he said "He's off to orientation at Harvard. He will be a freshman there in September" I said, "wow, you must be so proud" He replied " You know something? I remember they only time they let an Irishman in Harvard was to cut the grass" and when he told me you could see his eyes well up. That's what being Irish is about. Overcoming prejudice and understanding what it's like to be discriminated against. Because we know what our ancesstors endured, we as Irish Americans should be more tolarant. It's not green beer and minstral songs like Irish Eyes are Smiling that make St. Patrick's Day, it's the Irsh people and their will and strong work ethic that makes this a day to celebrate. It's time the Hibernian's made their parade inclusive instead of exclusive. Do it in the name of St. Patrick. Oh and folks, could you please refrain from calling it St. "Paddy's" Day as the word "Paddy" is an ethinic slur. Denis Hamil of the NY Daily News had an outstanding column yesterday on St. Patrick and it features quotes from Frank McCourt. It's men like Frank and his brother Malachey that make you proud to be Irish <

"ME AND THE DUKE IN A MIND MELD" Part of my rant yesterday was that the Mets need to look at the instruction the players are getting in regard to stretching and keep their muscles limber. It seem the Mets brain trust also thinks this way as well as this quote from the Journal News story hints: [The Mets are talking internally about what workout program they can put Reyes on to try to prevent these muscle injuries. ] Then we have Mike Piazza speaking up as a "team leader" saying that Reyes is so valuable to the team that he needs to know when to bust it and when to take it down a peg: "His health is paramount to this team," Piazza said. "He's got to kind of strike a balance and not do reckless things, especially in spring training. You play hard, but you play safe. "I've been part kidding, part serious with him. I said, 'Hey, smarten up. Your health is important. We need you.' It's more positive than negative. He's a special player. He's one of the most talented, if not the most talented player I've ever seen. He's got to really understand that we're looking for the long term." Correct me if I'm wrong but I have never heard Mike step up and make a statement like this. Usually he gives a stock answer but this a positive step. It just shows that Piazza is coming into the season with a different mind set. Hopefully he can stay healthy for the entire season. "AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME....." The race for the 5th spot in the rotation looks like it could be a photo finish. Aaron Heilman pitched 4 innings in a rain shorten game yesterday and continued to impress. So far this spring Heilman has pitched 13 innings walking 3 and striking out 15. It's fair to say he has taken to the teachings of Professor Rick. Grant Roberts as well as has earned an A+ grade this spring from the Peterson School of Pitching with 9IP 4BB 12K. Scott Erickson has only pitched 3 innings this spring and yesterday�s rain out of a B squad game he was to pitch in has to hurt. When you look at the entire staff the BB/K ratio is quite impressive. Here�s a look at the bullpen with the spotlight on the Geezers of Pitching: Weathers 6IP 2BB 5K Franco 51/3IP 1BB 8K Stanton 4IP 0BB 2K Then we have Kranepool Society favorite Dan Wheeler checking in with 6IP 0BB 4K The closer Braden Looper has struggled a bit although through 5IP he has not given up a walk and K�d 3. But he has also given up 10 hits and 6 earned runs in those 5IP. Then you have the Dark Horse Division: Botalalico 42/3 IP 1BB 0K Moreno 7IP 0BB 6K Botalalico has stated this is the best he�s ever felt about his pitching since he�s been in the big leagues, but things will have to really break right for him to make the Mets pitching staff. Same with Ober Moreno, who was thought to be the closer of the future, but after a rough go as a late season call up last year, prompted the Mets to go after Braden Looper. So the interesting move to be made here is if Roberts wins the 5th spot, does Heilman stay on as a long man in the pen or does he go back to Norfolk as the ace of the Tides? And if that�s the case, does that give Botalalico a spot in the pen? This is a tough decison for The Duke, Artie and Professor Rick to make. We still have 2 weeks to see how this plays out. <

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

�I WANT TO BE THE SKILL SETS APPRENTICE� I am not a big fan of reality TV, in fact to me these types of TV shows and the awful sludge that are network sitcoms, are what fuels the dumbing down of America. But I digress; I do enjoy watching The Apprentice. There is something about Donald Trump that fascinates me. He�s a guy from Queens whose father went from owning apartment houses in NYC to becoming a billionaire tycoon. Now he�s a TV star with one of the most watched show on TV. The Apprentice pits two teams of up and coming wanna-bees, who by competing in different business tasks, are vying for a spot as President of one of Trumps corporations. The best part of the show is when Trump brings the losing team into his boardroom to fire the team member who performed poorly. The catch phrase that Trump uses to rid the team of the fail member is �YOUR FIRED�. That�s why I want to be The Skill Sets apprentice just to go up and down the organization and say YOUR FIRED! I got this idea from reading a blurb in the NY Daily News today concerning the injury to Jose Reyes. First off I thought of Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, whom you would not think by looking at him, is a fanatic about the fitness of his players. His long time strength and conditioning coach is John �Mutha� Dunn. His nickname is Mutha because he puts the players through a �Mutha� of a workout. One of the hallmarks of Parcells coached teams is injuries like strains, and pulled muscles are almost non-existent. I bring this up because the first thing I�d do as The Skill Sets Apprentice is to fire the Mets conditioning coach and go out and fine the best coach I could find to teach guys like Jose Reyes and old farts like Piazza and Floyd the proper technique in keeping their muscles limber. Then I see where The Duke and Artie from Queens are saying that Wilpon Ward Joe McEwing would start the season at 2nd base if Reyes were still bother by his hamstring. Not while I�m in charge he�s not. Here is how my meeting with the Wilpon Ward would go down in the boardroom: Kranepool Society: Joe, you�re a nice kid. Everybody loves you here and I appreciated that. Plus you make a mean cup of coffee and you make sure we have plenty of dounuts in the clubhouse. But Joe, your at bats are a mess. Wilpon Ward: But Mr. Society, I�ve worked very hard at changing my batting stance and I think I�ve made some real progress. KS: Joe, quite frankly you couldn�t hit Rosie O�Donnell in the ass with two by four. You�ve been here 4 years and each year your numbers get worse and worse. I have some younger guys that need to play in Danny Garcia and Victor Diaz. WW: But I can play any position on the field and what about my doughnut runs (his voice cracking and his eyes welling up) don�t they mean anything? KS: Look Joe, don�t start sobbing OK. A great friend of mine Tom Hanks made a movie about woman�s baseball and you know what he told them? �There�s no crying in baseball� WW: Please Mr. Society if you give me another week or so I can show you I�m worthy of the job��� KS: Joe,��.YOUR FIRED! And with that the Wilpon Ward takes his duffle bag and catches a Greyhound bus out of St. Lonesome. For next week show, I put the Duke to the test to rid the Mets of Roger Cedeno and his obscene contract and the baseball illiterate Timo Perez. <

Monday, March 15, 2004

�BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, I GUESS�.� Myself and my fellow Mets bloggers, have been banging the gong since late January, when Vladimir Guererro was abducted to Disneyland, that the Mets should think very seriously about letting Victor Diaz play RF. So instead of taking our sage advise, the Mets brought in Karim Garcia, Shane Spencer, and brought back by unpopular demand Roger Cedeno and Timo Perez. Garcia and Spenser have not shown much this spring, besides an ability to embarrass themselves and the organization off the field. Cedeno and Timo have been consistent in their ability to suck at playing MLB. So, The Duke, Artie from Queens, and the other minions in the Mets front office have come up with a brilliant idea, �Let�s try Victor Diaz in RF�!!!!! Bloody brilliant! Diaz can hit, that is without question, but his infield defense is awful (gee, does sound like a certain ex-Highlander who now plays deep in the heart of Texas, that the media wants at Shea no matter the price?) so why not give him a shot as a corner outfielder?. The only question I have is, WHAT TOOK SO LONG!!!!!!!!!!!!. Diaz is coming off being named Rookie of the Year of the Dominican Winter League and he has won batting titles at his first two stops in the minors. Diaz played RF on Saturday against the Orioles and handled his two chances on fly balls with ease. When Mets minor league evaluator Guy Conti asked Diaz, what would he prefer playing 2nd base with the Tides or playing the outfield in the big leagues? Conti could not get the words out of his mouth, when Diaz said �outfield at Shea�. There are about 17 days left in spring training, so there may be time left for Diaz to learn enough of the nuance of outfield play to start the season there for the Mets. Could it hurt? Would you rather have a couple of has beens and an over paid underachiever plus a clueless bench player over a youth and enthusiasm with a wicked stick? <

Sunday, March 14, 2004

"5th AND LONG FOR THE METS STARTERS" Pete Abraham of The Journal News has a look at the race for the 5th spot in the Mets rotation. Scott Erickson has suprised many people with his strong showing especiaaly when you relize he's a year removed form pitching. Aaron Heilman has taken to Professor Rick and his training methods, the way we Mets fans had hoped. Grant Roberts has gone into "take no prisoners" mode and has exceled so far this spring. Tyler Yeats, once thought of as closer material has shown he is more than a "one pitch pony" and has added an breaking breaking ball and change to his repertoire. Artie form Queens and Professor Rick will have a tough decisions to make about the pitchers who will come North with the Mets. Add Dan Wheeler and Rickey Bottalico into the bullpen race, and the next 2 weeks or so will be very entertaining. <

"BARTENDER, I'LL HAVE A DOUBLE MAALOX WITH A PEPTO CHASER......" Jose Reyes left today's game with what is being called a "strained right hamstring". I am starting to get very leery of the Mets front office when they diagnose injuries. Kaz Matsui was supposed to miss a few days after getting a couple of stitches in his right index finger and so far he has not played a game a short in any spring training game. Mike Piazza just has soreness in his right quad, but he has not seen any playing time at 1st base in over a week. Now Reyes is hurt. I know Reyes and Matsui went to St. Lonesome a couple of weeks earlier than their reporting date to work out together, but there should be a lot of concern about the chemistry of the double play duo. But of course Little Artie Sunshine still sees seashells and balloons when asked about the impacted of Reyes injury: "It's a real concern. But he is young, and he plays hard," Howe said. "It's one of those things." I bet he had that dopey grin on his face when he said that as well. <

"THEY'RE WEARING OVERCOATS IN HELL" Joel Sherman has written a POSITIVE story on the Mets. He just found out what we all knew for about a year or so, that David Wright is the real deal. I guess his next column will have him railing that the Mets should trade Wright to the Tigers for Bobby Higginson. <

Friday, March 12, 2004

A good time was had by all at the Baseball Prospectus Pizza Feed in NYC last night. The best part of the evening, besides eating all the pizza you could hold down, was meeting some heavy hitters of the baseball blogging world. It was a real treat to finally meet in person, Alex Bleth of Bronx Banter fame and Jay Jaffe of the Futility Infielder.,Daren/Repoz, Alex Ciepley, and Cliff Corcoran. Also in attendance was the right honorable David Pinto of Baseball Mussings. The staff of Baseball Prospectus really put together a great evening. Special thanks goes to Steve Goldman of the Pinstripe Bible and Baseball Prospectus for �Making this night necessary� �NOW BACK TO THE VENOM��.� A very interesting piece in the PAGE 6 gossip page of the New York Post today told of how the recently canonized A-Rod prepared for his first spring training with the Highlanders: A-RODS FAVE Cynthia Rodriquez do you know where your husband is? Our spies say that before spring training began, new Yankee superstar Alex Rodriquez was paying regular visits to the VIP strip club on West 20th Street to enjoy lap dances from a certain Brazilian-born beauty. �he sees her and only her� says our insider. �He was coming in every other week. He�ll come in, sit at the bar and wait for her to come over. Then they go into the VIP room and she dances for him. He usually spends about $500 to $1,000 on her, getting lap dances and drinks.� A spokesman for the Yankees declined comment. As a public service to my loyal readers, I�ll be doing some in depth investigating reporting at the VIP Club once the Highlanders return to NY. �IT GETS LATE EARLY AROUND HERE����. The Mets right field situation is making me a tad nervous. Last night Karim �Wizzer� Garcia went 0 for 2 and Roger Cedeno went 0 for 1 with the obligatory botched fielding play in RF. I checked the results from yesterday�s spring games and it does not seem like the Mets played a spilt squad game, so the question I have is �Where the Hell was Shane Spenser�? Floyd and Cameron were in their proper spots but you would think that Artie from Queens would want Spenser to get some AB�s. I understand the Expos went with four right-handers but com�on it�s spring for Christ sake. I�m starting to see what the rest of the Mets bloggers are seeing and I may be looking for a seat on the �get Craig Wilson bandwagon� I can�t believe I just type that. If I�m the Duke, I have to be burning up the phone lines and scouring the wavier wires for someone to grab this spot. I just hope RF does not become a black hole position in �04. ��.AND THEN I SAW HIM PITCH�.NOW I�M A BELIEVER�� Aaron Heilman it seems has taken to the Tao of Professor Rick, as he went out and had another strong outing. After the game, Heilman was more upbeat and confident as I have seen since he came on the Mets scene. He said �He could have gone another 3 innings at least and that working with Peterson has really change his game and his thinking on the mound� So now in the race for the 5th starter spot, Scott Ericsson, Grant Roberts, Heilman, and add Tyler Yates in the mix, have been impressive. Add in Rickey Bottalico and the Gang of 3, Weathers, Stanton, and Franco (These geezers are like the workers on the Staten Island Ferry, they think they have a job for life.) along with Dan Wheeler plus closer Braden Looper along with the BIG 4 starters, that makes 14 pitchers for 11 spots. Let�s look at the lead pipe cinches to make the staff: Leiter Glavine Trachsel Seo Stanton Weathers Franco Looper That�s 8 spots filled. Now I would think that Grant Roberts has a spot either as the 5th starter or the long man in the pen. If Scott Ericsson continues to flourish, he could take the 5th spot and move Roberts to the pen. That leaves out Heilman who may have to start the season a Norfolk, as it makes no sense to put him in the pen. So that�s 2 more spots with one more to fill. Rickey Bottalico has the edge over Dan Wheeler with his experience as both set up man and as a closer. A healthy Bottalico could be the man to spell Looper to close out games. I�m not sure if Wheeler has any options ( I doubt he does) so if he went on the wavier wire he�d be snapped up by any team that�s been paying attention to Mets camp. How great is it to have depth in pitching? Remember you can never be too thin or too rich or ever have too much pitching. <

Thursday, March 11, 2004

�BASEBALL RAISES (Mc)CAIN� Senator John McCain took MLB and the Don Fehr of the MLBPA out to the wood shed and gave them a thrashing. Well his angst was more toward Fehr, the head of the Players Union, for dragging his feet and not giving in to tougher testing and punishment for players using performance enhancing drugs. The one problem I have with Sen. McCain and Sen. Joe Biden�s quasi-grandstand play is the current drug testing policy in the CBA was collectively bargained. For a tougher drug policy to be imposed that would mean that the CBA be reopened and that the management would have to give something to the union to get this done. If the Congress or fans or media types think that Don Fehr will roll over and give in to any revision to the CBA for steroid testing without getting something of significance back, their delusional. All Commissioner Used Car Salesman needed at the hearings was a shawl over his shoulders and his glasses perched on the tip of his nose. What an old lady he turned into in front of the committee. He played the victim card to the hilt, saying that drug testing was the last item in the CBA that was negotiated and how he did not want to shut down the game because it would send the country back into depression after 9-11, (which must have gone over well with the White House, since 9-11 is the official tragedy of the Republican Party) and in a effort to keep baseball going, he agreed to this drug policy. He told McCain how much he agreed with what he had said and wished that management and the union could work out a policy that was the equivalent of the NFL�s. All that was missing were the violins. How about those wussy�s from the NFL? You would never think that NFLPA President Gene Upshaw was one the best and toughest offensive lineman to play the game. Could they have sucked up any more to McCain and his fellow Senators? Man, it was as bad as a Joel Sherman/Highlanders are the best column. �A PESSIMIST IS AN OPTIMIST WHO�S BEEN AROUND����..� That quote is from former NBA Coach Chuck Daly, who is a world class pessimist After watching last nights Mets game, I was not feeling very chipper about the outfield situation. Then after I read Lee Jenkins story in the NY Times on Mike Cameron and Cliff Floyd�s ailments I just hope I�m not reaching for the Welbutrin by May. The bone spur that Mike Cameron has on the big toe of his right foot seems to be something that will liner all season. How much will it hinder his play, remains to be seen. This paragraph had me in a bit of a cold sweat: �In the week before spring training, Cameron said he could hardly walk. He had to limit his activity at the beginning of camp, receiving extensive treatment and taking anti-inflammatory drugs. At one point, Cameron told Floyd, �This is killing me� and Floyd instructed him to take a few days off. Cameron now gets the toe taped every day and wears inserts in his shoes� Then Cliff Floyd claims he felt some burning and soreness in his repaired Achilles, and made this statement: �I�m disappointed� Floyd said, I want to tell you I�m ready to start the season right now. But I can�t.� GULP!!!!! That�s not what Mets fans want to here. Add that quote to what I witnessed last night, I�m a little concerned. Now, I know one game in March does not make a 162 season, but I saw Wiz Kid, Karim Garcia, strike out 3 times. I mean he was so off balance on each at bat and looked clueless on the breaking balls and off speed pitch. Roger Cedeno was in mid season form, as he took an 0'fer in 3 at bats. Timo Perez at least drew a walk; unfortunatly there was no short pier to be found. On a positive note, the pitching was outstanding. Jae Seo looked a little rusty in the first 2 innings but he was able to change speeds and get his command in his last 2 innings of work. Scott Erickson had his sinker dropping like a lead weight and the ground ball outs were plentiful. Rickey Bottalico was giddy after his 1 inning of work telling Professor Rick (who wore a mic for MSG telecast) �This is the best I�ve felt in a year� and �For the first time in my career, I don�t feel I have to strikeout every batter I face�. <

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

"LOOPY FOR LOOPER" Pete Abraham of the Westchester Journal News has a story on Braden Looper and his initiation into the Mets: There are certain ways a ballplayer can tell he has been accepted on his new team. Mets closer Braden Looper knew he was one the guys when Grant Roberts grabbed his cell phone and used the digital camera feature to take a photo of Scott Strickland's backside. Looper returned to find Roberts and Strickland giggling and a nice photo of his wife and kids temporarily replaced. Sophisticated comedy it wasn't. But Looper laughed anyway. "It's been pretty easy for me and that says a lot about the guys on this team," Looper said. "Everybody has been great." Yup that's why I'm a proud Mets fan. Also check out the part of the story about the World Championship ring the Fish will be doling out. The rings cost about $20,000 a piece. Remember that next time The Art Dealer and his whinny little step kid moan and groan about having no cash to sign players. <

"PIZZA BOY IS S.O.L" Eric Vidal the pizza boy who alleged he got his head handed to him by the tag team duo Karim Garcia/Shane Spenser looks to be"shit outta luck" in his attempt to cash in on Urine-Gate incident. St. Lonesome Police have decided to not press charges against the platooning RF'ers. It seem Vidal had more holes in his story than Janet Jackson's fish nets. He claims that Spenser hocked a loogy at him from the back of Garcia's Hummer but he then says he was on the sidewalk when it happened. Police investigators determined that the loogy would have to travel about 20 ft if that had happen. I believe someone for Ripley's Believe IT or Not wants to interview the loogy for it's next record book. <

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

�JOEL SHERMAN: MY LIFE AS A HIGHLANDER GROUPIE� Sherman is suffering form an extreme case of EHCD (Excessive Highlander Compulsive Disorder) The man is totally obsessed with everything Highlander. I mean this guy when he orders breakfast says � I want my eggs over easy, like a Mussina fastball, toast just right like A-Rod, and some pancakes stacked like Jeter�. He can�t help himself he needs to check into the Zimmer-Witson Institute for some much needed rehab. Here is the first two paragraphs of Sherman's column: "The Yankees are the most exclu sive club in New York. Every VIP - Very Impressive Player - wants to get beyond George Steinbrenner's velvet rope and experience the scene. Hey, isn't that Derek Jeter there talking with Alex Rodriguez? Which makes Al Leiter kind of unique. Al Leiter actually wants to be a Met. He does not ache to be with all the moneyed guys, with all the beautiful people, within an atmosphere in which you are as likely to bump into paparazzi as sports writers. Why would you not want to go where the wins flow like Cristal? "Because I'm a Met," Leiter said. Being a Met in 2004 means playing for a team resistant to doing what is necessary to upgrade its lineup and image by getting Alfonso Soriano. Meanwhile, being a Yankee in 2004 means we already are up to speculating on July deadline trades." Can you believe that was printed in a major metropolitan newspaper by their top baseball writer? Mind-boggling! Sherman is shocked that there is a player in the Major Leagues who is actually happy to play on a team other than the Highlanders. Then of course he has to put in the obligatory �bring Sori home� line that has become a Sherman trademark. What has happened to this guy? I use the enjoy reading his stuff. He was always well informed and had great insights on baseball and especially NY baseball. This �Highlanders are great, Mets suck� is so juvenile that it borders on embarassing. Please Joel, seek some help. �WEATHER FORECAST FROM PT. ST. LONESOME: CONTINUED GOLDEN SHOWERS� Urine-Gate won�t go away. It should have been a closed case by as I wrote yesterday, the Mets-Freddy Skill Sets-did not write out the check to make it go away. If the Mets had given young Eric Vidal a grand or two and a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon for his pappy, this case would have been closed. But since it is still simmering, we have dead horse beater- Bill Madden-checking in with the Mets should release Garcia/Spencer column. It�s funny when both guys were cashing Georgie Porgies checks we never heard what incorrigibles these two were. But now the Freddy Skill Sets signs the checks, we hear that Spencer has a rep as a carouser and party boy and that Garcia has anger management problems to go along with his bladder difficulties. The only thing that will get the Pee-Pee brothers bounced out off the Mets is lack of production. <

Monday, March 08, 2004

From everything I've read and heard about John Henry Williams foucused on how he treated his father Ted Willams very badly in his declining years. JHW made Teddy Ballgame sign memorabilia till he was on the verge of exhaustion. John Henry it seems, could not make it on his own so he used his fathers fame to make a buck. Whenever old friends and teammates would venture down to Florida to spend time with Ted, JHW would sit there an watch and listen like a hawk. Then when Ted died and JHW had him sent to an Arizona cryogenics lab, he aired the William's dirty laundry in public and became joke fodder for late night TV hosts. You know somewhere Teddy Ballgame was embarrassed and infuriated by what his only son had done. John Henry Williams passed away at the age of 35 yesterday in California. As per his last wishes he will join his famous father in a tube at the lab in Arizona. As bad a guy as it seems John Henry was, it's is still an awful shame that someone so young had his life taken. <

"I FEEL LIKE BILL MURRAY AT THE ACADEMY AWARDS" Pete Abraham of the Journal News had his story on baseball bloggers printed in the USA Today" today. Unfortunately, the section of the article that mentions yours truly, was left on the editing floor. Que Sara Sara At least I have my health. <

�URINE-GATE JUST WON�T GO AWAY� Here�s the mistake the Mets made after this ridiculous incident. When VP of Security Rob Kasdon, went to visit pizza boy, Eric Vidal, he should have brought Freddy Skill Sets checkbook and left a little �aboost� for the kid. Someone got to this kid (most likely his old man) and told him he should be cashing in on Karim Garcia�s golden showers. All Kasdon had to do was write a check for a couple of grand and this incident would have been closed. Now Vidal is hiring lawyers and is worried that his name has been trashed from St. Lonesome to NYC. This kid must have taken some shot to his head to have such delusional thoughts. My advise to Vidal is take the check from the Mets and never eat yellow snow. �NO QUEST-TECH AT DODGERTOWN� Look, I hope Titan Tommy Glavine wins 20 games this year because as Titan Tommy goes so will go the Mets, so let�s hope he is over all his �issues� that he suffered last season. It seems with the added defense up the middle, Glavine can relax and get back to his way of pitching, by using his pin point command and getting those ground balls that have made him a border line Hall of Famer. He seems more relaxed and is more than glad to not be the center of attention this spring. Aaron Heilman gave up back to back HR�s yesterday but he also had 0 walks and 4 K�s in 2 innings. I�m not going to get to concerned about the homers, I�d rather think that the BB/K numbers mean more. Dan Wheeler has done nothing so far this spring to lose his bullpen job, and Rickey Bottalico has been a pleasant surprise. �MY BIG FAT OBNOXIUOUS TALK SHOW HOST AND GILBERT GOTTFIRED II ARE IN PT. ST. LONESOME� First thing, Russo claims he will call Tradition Field, Thomas White Stadium because he likes calling that. So I�ll call Russo, A-Hole because I like calling HIM that. Their first guest was The Duke and of course he�s optimistic about the team. He was very happy how the kids from the farm system have looked and it�s given the Mets brass a reason to be optimistic. So of course Francessa has to throw cold water on the enthusiasm and the Lap Dog just goes along with what Mike says. Then the great pontificator Francessa says the Mets and Mets fans should not expect more than 80-85 wins this season. Gee Mikey, that would be a 14-19 game improvement over last year. What�s wrong with that? I would say most Mets fans would be happy with that. I don�t think any of us think the Mets are going to win the pennant this year. Both these schmucks embarrass themselves by their blind hatred toward the Mets. <

Sunday, March 07, 2004

"WHERE HAVE YOU GONE ROD GASPAR.............." It didn't take long for Mets Hater Joel Sherman to take his head out of A-Rod's ass to rehash his Soriano to the Mets diatribe. For this we can thank two former highlander and current two-headed RF'ers Karim Garica and Shane Spencer. As we all know by now, Garcia could not hold his water late Thursday night and figured it was too much of an inconvenience to go back into the bar he just left, to urinate. So in a move that shows how much he disrespect his wife and Spencer and his wife, he decides to take a leak outside in the street while walking to his car with them. Very classy. This just shows how desperate the Mets are in the OF that both of these jabronies were not sent packing. It also gives the meat heads in the media more fodder for their trade Kazmir for Soriano pap. The most bizarre aspect of the whole story though is the 18 year old delivery boy, who is told by his boss to keep quiet about the incident or he'll lose his job. Gee, if they can this kid does he get to cash out his 401K? Maybe the kid should find Gene Orza and see if he can organize a Pizza Delivers Association? <

Friday, March 05, 2004

BILL MADDEN OF OLD IS BACK Just when I thought we had a convert from the Pinstripe Ass Kissers Club, Bill Madden renews his mebership. Pinstripe Bill has a column today about what a loner Mike Piazza is and how he acts so aloof around the clubhouse. Well, no shit Sherlock! I ranted about this last season about the Island of Mikey so Madden is breaking no new ground here. However, from all the other newspaper reports and from TV interviews I've seen with Piazza this spring, he looks as happy now as I've ever seen him as a Met. Piazza has resigned the fact that he will be a part time 1st baseman and play the majority of games behind the plate. He has busted his ass learning to play 1st and has spent ton's of time with, not just Jason Phillips and Vance Wilson, but with the Mets two top catching prospects Justin Huber and Mike Jacobs. Madden makes a fuss because Piazza move his locker after a pipe sprung a leak over his assinged spot. What is he supposed to do, sit there and have water drip on his head? Give me a break. So let me get this striaght, Piazza moving his locker because a pipe above his head is busted is cause for conceren but Madden fav the Giambino having an unhealthy obbsession with his strength coach is not a casue for conceren? Please! <

Thursday, March 04, 2004

�GO LEAFS GO� We interrupt our talk of the NY Mets to vent about the darkest day in NY Rangers history. Brian Leetch the greatest player to ever wear the Rangers sweater, was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first round draft choice in the 2004 draft and two prospects I have not been this disgusted with the Rangers since October 31, 1975 that's the day Ed Giacomin was shipped out to the Detroit Red Wings for the grand total of $100. How the hell can Little Jimmy Dolan allow Slats Sather to destroy this franchise? How does he sit by idly while Slats goes on Vancouver radio and bad mouths NY and Ranger fans? Slats was upset with the fans chanting �FIRE SATHER� and claimed that was one of the reasons the Rangers were underachieving. What Sather fails to mention is that when he should have been working to all summer to make sure the Rangers make the playoffs for the first time in 6 years, (now 7 years) he was on the golf course in Palm Springs and at his cottage in Banff Alberta. If Little Jimmy had any brains, he�d work out a buy out of Sather�s contract (he�s owed $8mil over the next 2 years) and hop in his limo for a ride through the Lincoln Tunnel, up the NJ Turnpike to exit 16 W, around Rt. 3 to the Meadowlands and throw himself at and a blank check at Devils Pres. Lou Lamirello, and beg him to take over the Rangers. Screw you Slats and Screw you Little Jimmy GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! �HEYMAN�S METS BASHING CONTINUES���� NEWSDAY columnist Jon Heyman had a great day yesterday. He saw the Dodgers thump the Mets in a spring training game and he got to write about Mike Piazza�s sore leg. He also was able to get a quote from an �anonymous scout�: �He doesn�t have good hands. He�s not a good catcher, so how�s he going to play first base? �I�m not sure he can make the switch�and he�s slow. It�s not a prerequisite but it doesn�t hurt either� We all know that Piazza is not Wes Parker but I can�t see where anyone thinks Mike will be that brutal at 1st. With Reyes at 2nd with his athletic ability and the great range he has, how much mobility will Piazza need at 1st? Just get back to 1st and catch the ball, that�s all he has to do. I don�t think anyone expects Piazza to make highlight film plays, just make the routine plays, that�s all. As for the statement about Piazza being a bad catcher, aside from throwing to 2nd base the last 2 years or so, he�s not that bad blocking balls in the dirt or his ability to call a game has not really been questioned. The main reason I have railed and I think most people as well, to put Piazza at 1st is to keep his potent bat in the Mets impotent line up. �LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WELCOME TO JACKIE ROBINSON FIELD���.� The dream of a new home for the Mets may be closer than we think. Today�s NY Times is reporting that the city is looking into condeming the land just outside the parking lot on 126th Street known as the �Iron Triangle�. This area is known for junkyards and auto repairs shops. It has the feel and look of the streets of Calcutta. There are no sidewalks or proper drainage, so rain water, auto fluids, and god knows what else lays stagnant in the streets. City officials PLUS Community leaders are in agreement that this tract of land-approximately 13 blocks in diameter-should be used for greater good. What could be better than a brand new baseball only park for the Mets called �Jackie Robinson Field�. With the land where Shea sits now, they could build a village with baseball themed shops and restaurants and a New York Baseball Museum. Freddy Skill Sets could build a replica of his beloved Ebbetts Field, with more seats of course. There is no need to waste tens of millions of dollars on a dome or roof over the ballpark. A nice opened air park with a nice bleacher section, wide concourse, and state of the art plumbing system is the way to go. <

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I'm sitting here perusing the web and a thought just hit me. Can you imagine how great Kiner's Korner will be this year when Ralphie interviews Kaz Matsui? I mean this may be the only show that can rival "Curb Your Enthusiaim" for the greatest comedy in TV history. Just think, Ralphie with his interpreter, Francis X. Healy and Kaz with his mouthpeice. Can you imagine the poor bastard who has to type the closed captioning for that one? <

"CALL THE FBI, BILL MADDEN HAS BEEN ABDUCTED" I nearly choked on my sesame bagel this morning while reading avowed Mets hater Bill Madden's coulmn. For the first time since Casey Stengel was named manager, Madden had a pro Mets story. He outlines how the plan of building through pitching and defense is the RIGHT way to go for the Amazin's. He also gives great information on the Mets droping out of the Soriano sweepstakes. You get the feeling from all the stories about Soriano that the Highlanders would have moved him even if the A-Rod proposal never came up: But just for the record, here's what a highly placed Mets source said yesterday about these creative rumors: "Why would anyone think we would trade any of our best young players for a guy we'd have only two years of control over?" He did not bother to add the underlying factors - Soriano's refusal to listen to advice, his periodic brain locks and his stated reluctance to move off second base - that deemed him expendable by the Yankees. But of course not everybody can shake their addiction to Sorriano. Bob Klapisch in an ESPN column is can't give it up. But there is hope as you see in this quote from his story: "For what Soriano costs today and next year and the year after, I wouldn't trade for him. He's not worth it, not for Kazmir," said the executive. "Soriano strikes out too much, he doesn't walk and he can't play defense. What else is there to think about?" Enough is enough. <

"HEADS ARE GOIN' ROLL" Only kidding! Don't get your Jockeys in a bunch over today's 13-4 bitch-slappin' by the Dodger. If your upset over this loss here is a mantra for you to meditate on "Spring Training Games Don't Count". There is a reason they are called "Exhibition Games" all they are is to get in work and give the old farts of Florida something to do until Early Bird dinner is served. I will say this though, the Mets let Jaime Cerda, Matt Watson and the cult like figure Marco Scutaro go for nothing but Jason Anderson who has not shown a damn thing since he was acquired last year, takes up a much coveted spot on the 40 man roster. <

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

�HEY BARRY IS THAT A VIAL OF HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE IN YOUR POCKET��OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?� Folks, the THG has hit the fan in the BALCO indictments. The defendants in this case are singing like Pavarotti at the Met. The SF Chronicle is reporting the following have received performance enhancing drugs form BALCO. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent. Barry Bonds Garry Sheffield Jason Giambi Marvin Bernard Benito Santiago (he was given the �Age You Ten Years� hormone) Randy Velarde (he was given the �I Can�t It�s A Steroid� hormone) Through all this mess, Alan H. Selig sits by and fiddles while MLB burns. Little by little the rank and file of the MLBPA are becoming outspoken about testing for performance enhancing drugs. The two-headed monster of Fehr/Orza has been superb in putting out the little brush fires that have erupted form time to time. This one could turn into a forest fire if they are not careful. I�ve always felt that the PA have held drug testing as a trump card when negotiations of the CBA comes around, put the time has come to throw in the cards. Every player in baseball is now being looked at with a jaundice eye. The broad brush of guilt is spreading and ugly coat over all the players. Someone from the rank and file that has the juice (no pun intended) has to step up and take a leadership role before baseball becomes the W.W.E. where 30 year olds go to die. NOW BACK TO THE HAPPY NEWS. It seems the mainstreamers have finally caught on to what we Mets aficionados have know for a year that Scott Kazmir is a legit prospect. Kevin Kernan has discovered the Joy of Kazmir, as he watched him pitch in an inter-squard game. By the way leave it to �wet blanket� Jon Heyman to rain on the Kazmir parade. THE GOOD Jose Reyes flexed his 15 pounds of new muscle (I hope is was from a steady diet of rice and beans) by homering off Jason Anderson. But the star of the day was 3rd baseman David Wright, who went 3-3 (a 2run HR and 2 singles) and showed off a terrific glove at the hot corner. Tyler Yates and the under appreciated Dan Wheeler had impressive outings on the mound. Cliff Floyd stretched a single into a double running full steam ahead and reported no pain in his repaired Achilies. THE BAD RHP Jason Anderson, who had a lot to say when he was acquired from the Highlanders last summer, gave up the HR to Reyes. THE UGLY Victor Diaz in his first chance at 3rd base made 3 errors. Jason Phillips dropped a pick off throw. �I MADE THEM AN OFFER THE COULDN�T REFUSE� Hey piasians, Italian night is back on the schedule for August 30th at Shea. After an avalanche of phone calls and e-mails the Mets had no choice put add on one more night to International Week. THE FINAL WORD ON SORIANO TO THE METS After reading this article in NEWSDAY, I think it�s safe to say that Lil� Sori to the Mets is a closed case, judging by this quote from Soriano: �I want to be a second baseman� said Soriano �I don�t want [to] change to another position. I want to be a second baseman forever. I�m comfortable there� <

Monday, March 01, 2004

IF IT AIN�T BROKE, STICH IT Kaz Matsui became the first casualty of the spring when he was hit in the middle finger of his right hand with a ground ball. The grounder split his nail and required a couple of stitches to close. X-Rays of the finger were negative (WHEW!) and it seems Kaz will be sidelined about a week. That means the Wilpon Ward Joe McEwing will fill in at short. (Memo to self: remember to write a post on how the Mets desperately need a back up infielder that can actually play) Here is a sign on how Artie from Queens feels about Super Joe: �Joey is capable of backing up the middle� Art Howe said. �He showed that last year. As the spring goes along, I know our people will be keeping an eye on other players and if something comes along that�s going to give us some security if we need it, we�ll do it� Translation: If this isn�t a wake up call to The Duke that we need a backup shortstop, I don�t know what else to say. You saw what happened last year when �Joey� became a regular! Forget about Sorriano, we need SCUTARO!!!!!!!!! SPEAKING OF SORIANO TO THE METS���.. To Whom It May Concern: I�m Dead! Yours truly, The Horse Can we stop with the (Prospect of your choice) for Alfonso Soriano trade talk. Its amazing, Jon Heyman of NEWSDAY must bored shitless because he won�t stop with this. Now he has the Dodgers in the mix offering young pitchers Edwin Jackson and Greg Miller as trade bait. Both Jackson-who was the reason the Dodgers let Kevin Brown go to the Highlanders-and Miller are blue chip pitching prospects. As much as the Dodgers need hitting there is now way Paul DePodesta makes that deal. �ADDRESS THE BALL�HEEELLLO BALL�.� Lee Jenkins has a how to play centerfield story by Mike Cameron in today�s NY Times. Remember, The Say Hey Kid, said that Shea Stadium CF was the toughest ever for him to play. PITCHING UNDER THE RADAR Newsday has a story on RHP�s Tyler Yates and Jeremy Griffiths, who are quitely going about their business and impressing the Mets brass. Both pitchers are 26 years old so they are on the cusp of going from prospects to suspects. Yates has been hampered by injury but his arm is live enough that there was talk of him being the closer before the Looper signing. I have been a fan of Griffiths since I watched him pitch a spring training game last year. With his imposing size (6�6� 235 lbs) Griffiths has the look of a ML pitcher. Even though he gives the appearance of a power pitcher, Griffths is more of a finesse guy who has had control problems but has great movement on his pitches. Both pitchers need to add a little more zip on their fastballs to make Artie and Professor Rick final decisions on the pitching staff more difficult. �ALWAYS CHECK THE FINE PRINT� From Bob Herzog�s Mets Notebook in NEWSDAY on 23 year old pitcher Jose Diaz: �His high heat induced mostly empty swings with an occasional foul ball. Hitters muttered and left the cage shaking their heads. �Gas-o-line!� jeered observer John Franco. �Whew�! said (Jose)Reyes after several futile swings.� Diaz is the pitcher formally known as Joselo Diaz. <